By capturing the Thotis’ traditional songs and their love of tattoos, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad hope to “revive” their cultural practices.

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The ancient and now-dwindling habits of the Thotis, a tribal group in the northern Telangana region of Adilabad, are being documented by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H).

The team from the institute’s Department of Design recently returned from a field trip to Thotiguda in Adilabad with new information about and documentation of the community’s traditional practices, one of which was the practise of tattooing.

The Thoti tribals are an associated group of Raj Gonds and their traditional profession was singing ‘Gond Gadhas’. Their songs have been an important tool of oral renditions to keep alive the history of Gondwana kings. The women of the community have been traditional tattoo makers, which they practiced as part of the healing and curing process.

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The knowledge of tattooing is passed on from generation to generation and according to the tribals, it has several benefits to cure illnesses. They engrave tattoos of different signs on the legs, back, forearms, forehead, etc and do not consider one married until one is tattooed on the forehead.

According to the institute, the team at IIT took up the project as the conventional practices of the Thotis have been on a decline as only a handful of families continue with the age-old traditions. The team maintained that the Thotis are also an endangered tribal community as per the Census with only 4,811 members alive.

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According to a release from the IIT-H, during their recent field visit to Thotiguda, located at Tosham Village at Gudihatnur Mandal in Adilabad, the team recorded the traditional music of the Thotis using advanced technologies and also filmed a documentary on the tribe’s practices.

Professor Deepak John Mathew, head of the department of design, said the documentary describes the age-old traditions and science behind it. “Our objective is to showcase these amazing techniques and help the community sustain its cultural values. It is also a step towards connecting today’s city generation with the rich cultural and social heritage of these communities,” he said in the statement.

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IIT-H Director Professor B S Murty added that preserving traditions and cultural heritage using design concepts and encouraging future generations to sustain them fulfils the institute’s motto. #KhabarLive #hyderabadlive #hydnews #hyderabadi